A SOUTH Tyneside adventurer is edging closer to completing a mammoth mountain mission to Antartica – by way of Africa and Mongolia.
Mountaineer Steve Berry has climbed six of the seven highest mountains on each continent on the globe, with only Mount Vinson, near the South Pole, left to conquer.
It’s a win-win situation. I earn some cash, and the refugees have a dramatic improvement in their lives by being able to access safe water.Steve Berry, adventurer
The 59-year-old is aiming to reach its 16,050 ft summit next year and is helping to fund his ambitious challenge by taking part in a life-changing project in Africa.
Mr Berry, of Central Avenue, South Shields, has jetted off to Uganda to help provide a fresh water supply for a village of refugees.
He will then lead expeditions in Tanzania and Mongolia during the summer to raise cash to help pay for his Antarctica bid in January 2016.
Mr Berry said: “I am currently based in Uganda. Jamie Wilde, who I climbed Everest with, asked me to help him out on a project he’s involved with in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Bweyale.
“This settlement is run by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and gives support to more than 25,000 refugees from Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
“This has now become a permanent settlement, and as many as 40,000 more refugees are expected to arrive here from South Sudan, due to the ongoing conflict there.
“My task is to provide the refugees with clean water. I’ll achieve this by drilling 10 boreholes and installing hand-pumps so the refugees can access safe, clean drinking water.
“I will spend two months here in Uganda to complete the contract.
“I will return briefly to the UK on May 25 before leading an expedition to Tanzania for one month, then in July, I will be leading another expedition to Mongolia, before returning home in August.
“I also have two expeditions to lead climbing Kilimanjaro later in the year.
“I’m hoping that by the end of this year, I will have earned sufficient funds to pay for my Vinson trip.
“The job in Uganda will go a long way to helping me achieve this. It’s a win-win situation.
“I earn some cash, and the refugees have a dramatic improvement in their lives by being able to access safe water.”
Mr Berry has already conquered Mount Everest in the Himalayas, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Argentina’s Aconcagua, Mount Denali in Alaska and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, as well as Elbrus in Russia.
He added; “I’m currently in negotiation with a Russian team to see if I can join them on their expedition to Mount Vinson in early January 2016.”